"Apple's philosophy goes like this: Too many companies spread themselves thin, making a profusion of products to defuse risk, so they get mired in the mediocre. Apple's approach is to put every resource it has behind just a few products and make them exceedingly well."
Consider Apple's product line. There are three laptops, the MacBook, the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air. Even a potential customer who's never used a computer before can understand the distinctions just by hearing their names.
"MacBook" is obviously the basic laptop. The "MacBook Pro" is obviously a "better," or professional, model and the Air is somehow different than the two. Easy.
Not to pick on Sony, but look at their lineup of Vaio laptops:
- Vaio UX Series
- Vaio TZ Series
- Vaio SZ Series
- Vaio CR Series
- Vaio FZ Series
- Vaio NR Series
- Vaio AR Series
The same goes for desktops. Apple builds three; the iMac (a name nearly everybody knows), the Mac mini (obviously smaller and, one would assume, lower priced) and the Mac Pro, which follows the pro-level naming convention of the laptop line.
The iPod line is slightly more convoluted (if "convoluted" is even the right word) with four models
- iPod shuffle
- iPod nano
- iPod classic
- iPod touch
The Fortune article is full of good stuff, so go and read it.